SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- Marine biologists studying wild octopuses have found a kinky and violent society of jealous murders, gender
subterfuge and once-in-a-lifetime sex.
The study by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, who journeyed off the coast of Indonesia found that wild octopuses are far from
the shy, unromantic loners their captive brethren appear to be.
The scientists watched the Abdopus aculeatus octopus, which are the size of an orange, for several weeks and published their findings recently in the
journal Marine Biology.
They witnessed picky, macho males carefully select a mate, then guard their newly domesticated digs so jealously they would occasionally use their
8-to-10-inch tentacles to strangle a romantic rival.
The researchers also observed smaller "sneaker" male octopuses put on feminine airs, such as swimming girlishly near the bottom and keeping their
male brown stripes hidden in order to win unsuspecting conquests.
And size does matter -- but not how you'd think.
"If you're going to spend time guarding a female, you want to go for the biggest female you can find because she's going to produce more eggs,"
said UC Berkeley biologist Roy Caldwell, who co-wrote the study. "It's basically an investment strategy."
Shortly after the female gives birth, about a month after conception, the mother and father die, researchers said.
"It's not the sex that leads to death," said Christine Huffard, the study's lead author. "It's just that octopuses produce offspring once during
a very short lifespan of a year."
I wonder if you can pick up chicks in a bar that way?